How to Avoid Mistakes When Shipping Internationally

Jan 24, 2019Customs Brokerage, International Logistics

Shipping cargo internationally is a very complex process. There are many steps that need to be taken to ensure that a shipment ends up where it needs to be on time. If one step is missed in the process, a shipment could end up delayed, lost, or returned.

Below, our expert team has complied the most common mistakes made when shipping internationally and, more importantly, how to avoid making them: 

No Customs Knowledge

The key to shipping internationally is knowing the custom laws, regulations, and codes. Every country and border have different rules to follow and can become very complicated depending on the type of cargo being shipped.

There is also required paperwork that must be filled out correctly; there are usually two forms involved when shipping internationally. It is vital to have the proper information and understanding of this paperwork to ensure your cargo ends up where it needs to be.

How to avoid this mistake:

Consulting and hiring a customs broker will take the workload and responsibility of customs knowledge off of you and onto a professional. We are proud to employ an expert team of customs brokers that will help you navigate international shipping regulations.

Mistiming the Shipment

Timing is extremely important in the logistics industry, specifically in international shipping where time is crucial. It is quite easy to miscalculate the time needed to ship your cargo, especially if you are new to shipping internationally. The timing of a shipment doesn’t just involve the time it takes to ship it from point A to point B; it involves loading and transit times, as well as terminal cutoffs.

How to avoid this mistake:

It will be helpful for you to research shipping times so you can get a basic understanding of how long it will take to ship your cargo to a specific location. From that research, apply it to the timeline of when you reach out for a quote from a logistics company. This will allow you and the company to ship the cargo on the best timing possible.

Failing to Insure

Ships sink. Cargo can be stolen. Goods can easily be damaged. Pirates still exist. Temperatures can be volatile. Basically, things happen, and insurance for your cargo is important. Insuring cargo is often an oversight or avoided when the cost of insuring cargo is deemed too high. However, insuring your cargo is not only important to protect your goods but sometimes is required depending on the type of cargo it is.

How to avoid this mistake:

In order to avoid this mistake, learn your insurance options. There is more than one option out there for you, but it is key to discuss the type of cargo you will be shipping as options and rates can vary.

Going with the Cheapest Rate

This is by far the most common mistake, and the most avoidable. While it may be important to you to be frugal, what is important to your customers and clients? The rate is important, but not as important as choosing who is shipping your cargo and that you trust them.

How to avoid this mistake:

Ask the right questions before signing anything with a shipping company. Try asking questions like: “How long have you been in business?”, “Do you have any references we can talk to?”, “What kind of experience do you have in shipping this type of cargo?”.

If they are unable to answer or give a roundabout answer to your questions, they aren’t the right partner for you.


Interested in learning more about choosing the right supply chain partner? Check out our recent blog for more information.

Shipping internationally is no easy feat, and that’s why TOC is here for you. We have experts who are able to help you get your cargo where it needs to be on time and in one piece. Want to learn more? We would love to hear from you.


Our capable and experienced team is standing by to assist organizations and supply chains across the globe. Click the button to get in touch with our team.

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